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  CSPAN    Today in Washington    News/Business. News.  

    September 21, 2010
    2:00 - 6:00am EDT  

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what was scary, not so much what we did note but what we did not know. the me describe this. we had been in afghanistan for eight years at this point. that is when young yahoo! is like me when over to defeat terror. nonetheless, what we thought about our conflict environment, and jeremy and the back and talk about this, when the if i asked military intelligence officers to tell me about the caliban in their area, i would get a good answer. i would give the most likely course of action. these are all the questions that a good military intelligence officer can answer. the least assuring thing that you will hear in combat is, "i'm
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a social scientist, and i am here to help. if i asked a different question, if i said that i think that maybe the predatory nature of the afghan government itself is a greater threat to success than anything that the taliban does or says. who runs the water in this area? who are the local power brokers? who are they related to? what are their business interests? true to have lunch with, yesterday. we are really good in these kinds of conflict in varmints, but not so much of the right actors. if you switch things around, you
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assume that what the host nation government does or fails to do is as important as what you do or what the enemy does. i will be happy to talk about that later on. i think that the scary thing was is not what we did not know, but how little we knew. if i say to tell me about what is going on in the city of kent r., -- -- in the city, when i get the answers. it starts around april and it ends around october or november. that is not the case. war is never non kinetic. even when there is not this shooting taking place, there is intimidation that the insurgents
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are waging. -- never nonkinetic. they are doing intimidation to the local population. insurgencies are like staircases. at the top, you have your hard- core insurgents. below them, you have your enablers, your bond makers and what not. then you have your second tier enablers. then you have the neutral population. below that, you have the military population. good counterinsurgency tactics
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combined with the fact local governments and really good intelligence work can isolate those top tier insurgents at the top of the staircase and everybody moves down. the problem is that we had no idea what was really going on in canada are -- in kandahar. that was a big alarm. there was a very vigorous and critique of our intelligence work in afghanistan last january raising these same questions. the disturbing thing was that he was there for eight years and we do not know that much more about the people of afghanistan or that much more about the power brokers than we did when we first went into afghanistan in
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2002. we wrote this really gloomy report and we did not count on bob woodward publishing it in "the washington post." but he did. this change to the debate in afghanistan in the united states to a degree, combined with some other unfortunate news. the afghan presidential election in august-september 2009. those two events contributed to the white house reviewing or going back over their strategy for afghanistan. whenever you do a strategic plan, used her with a list of planning assumptions. if any of the internet to be wrong -- when every do a strategic plan, you start out with a list of planning assumptions. if any of them turn out to be wrong, then you have a problem.
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they looked at the afghan presidential election and started rethinking whether or not we had a credible partner that we could work with, by, and threw in afghanistan. if you look at the way we americans look at counterinsurgency, we are a lot from the british and different experiences of the 20th-century. -- the british and french experiences of the 20th-century. the british and northern -- the british in northern ireland, they thought they were in their own turf. by the same token, the french in algeria, the french considered algeria part of metropolitan france. it was non-negotiable. when the conflict began, algeria was a part of france. that was not from the
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perspective of the fln. that informed the way they thought about the conflict. you kind of assume that your interests will line up with the host government. that is the with the united states typically thinks about counterinsurgency. that is not the way we actually fight it. we are fighting as third parties to a conflict. we are fighting on behalf of another, -- on behalf of another government. our interests will not necessarily line with the host nation government. we do not think about what happens if the host nation government tends to be predatory to its people. sometimes we think, look, the
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karzai government, it has images to me crisis. we knew they were fighting an insurgency. you probably have illegitimacy crisis to begin with. the obama administration went back and look at all of their assumptions. they look at the polls again throughout this very long and tedious process in october and november 2009 as they tried to decide if they would put more troops into afghanistan. the president was asking some very good questions. it was not, like, about what to do not think if i can win if we
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put more troops and." they actually asked related questions. what of the chances that we will have some movement visa vie the safe havens in pakistan? the president would not commit an additional 30,000 troops if we do not think that we would have any help from the pakistanis and your general on the ground says that we cannot be successful if we do not. the core goal must be too distraught, this mammal, and prevent -- this -- the core will
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must be to disrupt, dismantle, and -- so you have the same ends, but less ambitious means. they had too little time to waste the kind of counterinsurgency campaign described in u.s. military doctrine. president obama called for a military strategy that would kill their momentum. in addition, he pledged to work with our partners, the united nations, and the afghan people so that the government could
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take advantage of improved security. then the president agreed to work with insurgent groups. in total, president obama called "a military effort -- an effective partnership with pakistan. i would argue -- i am not sure that the military saw it this way -- but i would argue that the president in his december speech basically called a counterinsurgency in afghanistan. it would be time and resource- intensive. it would being that's taking -- it would be aimed at taking place in a variety of locations.
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i think the president basically said we do not have enough time to do all that. you have 18 months to break up the momentum and build up afghan capacity. i think that what the president did was basically say that we're moving toward the transition. what we see in iraq right now -- and this is foreshadowing what i really want to talk about at the end -- what we see there is transitioning to something other than counter insurgency. 2009 turned into 2010. there was an unfortunate profile of general mcchrystal in " rolling stone magazine." i was interviewed for that magazine but i was not quoted in that magazine and that was public because it did not say something they wanted to hear. in eastern afghanistan, we might have seen a bear progress.
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if i were to look for the one bright spot in the u.s.-led effort in afghanistan over 2010, it would be in training the afghan national security forces. this will shock some of you because you would think that, when we engage in this type of large-scale military operation, he wore, that we take some time to train host nation security forces. we really need to get serious about that in afghanistan. until about 24 months ago, we did not get serious about it and tell general called well took over the nato -- about it until general caldwell took over the nato forces. one thing we took for granted in iraq is that you have iraqi
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people who were the most educated in the arabic-speaking world in the 1960's and the 1970's. you do not have to look far to build a class of commissioned officers to rebuild the iraqi army. that is not the case with afghanistan. the key barrier is literacy. there is no shortcut to teaching people to read so they can be officers in the afghan national army. that is a significant roadblock. moving into the fall review, i will close by just telling you, in general, where i think this debate is headed and then i will allow you to throw darts at me. for the most part, the policy debate in washington concerning afghanistan is taking place in a very narrow band. there are calls for the united states to completely rethink our mission in afghanistan, to
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completely rethink our interests. we have been there for nine years. you probably have read that we have a bit of a budget problem in washington. and we have invested too much time and resources and treasure in afghanistan and we should think about immediately withdrawing our soldiers and trying to -- then you got to go all in and commit 400,000 troops into afghanistan and flood the zone, so to speak and do counterinsurgency. our defense spending is not that high historic plea. i do not think that either of those choices carry much traction in washington. the path of least resistance is a much more narrow band.
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i think that the key question is talking about what the president outlined in december. a transition to the afghan forces and the afghan people, transitioning the fight to them. how much time and space to we need to create in order to do that? how much time and space, how many troops do we need to leave and afghanistan before we have an afghan institution that we can fight through. if you are looking at where the president wants to get, i think a good example is iraq. this is the first time that iraq has been held up as a success story. we would love for afghanistan to look a lot like iraq. were the transition from this counterinsurgency campaign to something that looks a lot more
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like a limited counter-terror component. that is what everyone wants to get to. general petraeus, president obama, secretary gates, including the governments of our key western allies. the real debate is how much longer do we need to keep track levels in afghanistan as high as they are in order to keep that in place? >> i will leave that right there. i talked mostly about afghanistan at the political level. i have not fought in afghanistan for six years. i am not sure how well i can answer questions on the tactical and operational level, but i will be happy to answer some fact going operational questions. i am not shy about telling you guys about lee -- leaving the army and going to the arab speaking world and building up
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-- i knew what i did not know. i knew how ignore i was about the language of the people and the cultures. i had no problem reaching for help from the real afghan experts. i have no problem telling you that i don't know what i am talking about. if you hear that from me, please to not be offended. -- do not be offended. i will turn it over to you. [applause] >> sir, from what you said, it sounds very much to me as if the ability to start withdrawing forces in july of 2011, even with a minimal kind of program
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for the future of building security is unrealistic. is that your opinion or do you care to express your opinion on that? >> shura. -- sure. i think that we can begin with role, but that is the key question. what is the pace and depth of that withdrawal? what does it look like? the vice-president said we would talk about withdrawal. but then he had to walk that back because the president wants to keep his options open. that is where the debate is corn to be. it is going to be after june 2011, how quickly can you begin the withdrawal? maybe it is not the u.s. troops to go home first. maybe it is the dutch or the
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canadians. some of the allies have not distinguished themselves on the field. if you look at the canadians, they have suffered combat casualties in greater proportion than ours. i think that the dutch have also suffered quite heavily. those armies are looking to leave afghanistan. they may be the first to leave. that doesn't really answer your question, but it reiterates where i left things. that is the key question the policymakers will be asking. how quickly can metrist -- can we transition? about a year ago, the generals on the ground saw all the risks involved. they are the ones that will say that we have to go slow.
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the politicians are thinking about larger strategic issues, for example, our mighty military has been tied up in a land war in central asia for nine years. is that the wisest way to use american power? maybe not. they will think about those larger questions. it is all about the assumption of risk. how much can you assume and how much faith you have end nato to deliver a product? thank you for your question. >> thank you for your talk. i am a retired marine. it is generally agreed that when you go into a situation like this, that you need a strong central government to partner with. we do not have that in afghanistan. another way that afghanistan is different than iraq is the war lords attrition.
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to what extent do you think that the warlords will play a role as we develop local security forces? >> that is a great question for the thinking man for your service-that is a great -- that is a great question. it thank you, ma'am, for your service. in the fall of 2001, many of our western allies and the afghans themselves were at a conference in december and thought that it would be a good idea for afghanistan to have a strong centralized government. never mind the fact that we do not have a strong centralized government. never mind that afghanistan has never had a strong centralized government. never mind that it doesn't make sense for afghanistan to have a
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centralized government. it just does not make sense, especially within the context of afghanistan is history. the problem is, in iraq, iraq did not get its sovereignty from us until january 2009 when we signed an agreement. afghanistan has had their sovereignty for a long time. away from war lords, -- away from more words -- warlords, they have always relied on centralized decision making and .ocal police herde
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that is not exclusively warlords. when we look at options for a better way to go in afghanistan, whether it makes more sense to diversify its ability to the local and district levels, will run up against the afghan constitution. -- we will run up against the afghan constitution. if we push toward decentralization, a realistic move would be to press for elections at the district level. we have to mitigate the risks. we have to use our leverage. president rsi has been much more widely -- much more sneaky.
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the problem is, we run against the sovereign state and its constitution. >> of the security piece of it, can that be the centralized with local security troops? >> yes ma'am. we have built a pretty strong national army that is an even in performance -- that is uneven in performance. for the most part, the afghan national army is ok. it we have the afghan national police, and whether it is a good idea to have a national police is debatable. in certain areas of afghanistan, like in iraq, we have concerned
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local citizens and we have the sons of iraq and you could also call the militias. you could also call the games. ngs. gangs -- called them gain whether you're talking about the east or the west, they do exist. there are alternatives rooted within afghan culture and experience that will allow options for decentralized local security. believe me, man, we're looking at them as hard as possible. thank you for your question. >> bob crosby, retired army.
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it seems that you described an unstable government with an interest in the united states pulling our forces out. the need for training of the local forces reminds me of the situation back in the mid-1970s. this solution them was vietnam ization. that did not work because congress cut of resources flowing to south vietnam. do you see us moving down the road toward the same situation, given the liberal congress that we currently have and the level of administration. will the money and resources
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that are promised to go into pulling out troops because of and the afghans be left to their own devices? what's that is certainly what the afghans fear. -- >> that is certainly what the afghans fear. there is a need, -- vast majorities of our contributing nations feel that way. the president felt the need to reassure them and remind the afghan government that we will always be there. he brought in this 18 month time line. there is a flip side to that equation. if we are going to do that, you also need to make very clear to the taliban and, to pakistan,
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and to the afghan people themselves that our troop presence may go up and down. our monetary contributions may go up and down, but our commitment to afghanistan is entering a period of the afghan people have to make a choice in this war as far as which institution they will support. they think that our commitment to afghanistan will be interim, they are more likely to commit to working with and in the afghan government. if, however, they think that we are not there, in pakistan and afghanistan, they thought we were leaving in 18 months. everyone knew that that was not the case, but that was the way it was received. that was a very poor strategic communication on our part.
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i think that the president is in a better position. the president has been remarkably clear about his policy towards afghanistan and pakistan. even though he has taken time, he has been remarkably steadfast. he was very clear from the beginning that the one option we are not doing is leaving. he does have problems within his own party, but the republican party is behind that and is not like his own party is going to choose somebody else in 2012. i think that he is in a pretty strong position. if we do and afghanization --
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that is an awful word that i just made up. i think that there will be a lot more patience and a lot more willingness to support that. the president has some strong republican allies and he has some strong democratic allies. that is probably going to get me in trouble. >> the president mentioned the taliban. what is the difference between the taliban and al qaeda today and is the white house willing to concede it afghanistan to the
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taliban and if we can slow down al qaeda? >> good question. this is something that is often asked. -- theay the caliban taliban comeback. we run the risk of the same thing that happened in 2001. you'll hear a lot of rational actor theorists. if you have been studying what has been taking place within the caliban and al qaeda since 2001, they are closer, not far apart. there was a cleavage after 2001, but since then, the two groups have grown more together. some of the old guard would be more likely to strike a deal
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karzai group. that is the danger of that. if we could be reasonably assured that if the taliban was in charge in afghanistan, al qaeda would not have a safe haven to strike the united states or al qaeda would not be able to claim victory, with all due respect, we probably will opt for that. but we cannot assure that. quite frankly, the relationship between al qaeda and the caliban has grown closer, not far apart. sir, you waited patiently. >> i am former army.
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he kind of preemptive my question. i was wondering what the incentives are for educated afghans to come back to the country? >> these are great questions. can i ask you a question for what? worded to serve? -- when did you serve? 2002-2003. >> those are very good questions. with respect to the first question, i do not think that we have asked tough questions as far as what afghanistan would
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look like if we left. if the united states could leave afghanistan and the interests that the president articulated in march 2009 and december 2009 are met, girls can go to school. but women are forced to wear a gurkha -- dave burkha. we would like to think that we would take that deal and run with it. the bottom line is i don't think we can even ask that question until you hear the secretary of state say we are not going to leave afghanistan when women's rights are trampled. really? i am not sure. what is our relationship with saudi arabia these days?
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that is a good question and i do not think that we have had that conversation within the united states. about when push comes to shove. that is a tough, tough question. one which i don't feel compelled to answer. the other question is equally as good. i worked with a general that was a commander in afghanistan between 2003 and 2005. the general talk about afghanistan as being an hourglass. up here, he had all the money in the world and all this aid and development and foreign assistance that was begging to be sent to afghanistan. down here, he had 30 million afghans. here he had all the bureaucrats that all the money was supposed
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to flow through. the incentives are not there. we have afghan doctors in afghanistan who are not practicing medicine because it makes more money to drive around and speak english. they cannot make a living wage and not be corrupt. they can make more money elsewhere. there is nothing wrong with boastful, but all of that money that is flowing into afghanistan has distorted the economy and distorted the incentives for afghans to work in what we would see as critical fields. this is actually something i was
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biting back and forth-writing -- writing back and forth to a friend. i am worried about afghans that are in afghanistan and getting them to join the national army. if they speak english, french or any other language, but are not going to be working in the ministry. they will work for one of the ngo facilities. there want to work for our government to rea. >> i am a retired marine. i believe in history, but i do not believe that it can be forced. neither iran or afghanistan has ever been successfully
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overtaken. afghanistan simply hasn't been because of the warlords. iran has absorbed them. iran has been around since the beginning of history. i am wondering if president anda's ideas of diplomacy his ideas of counterinsurgency aren't pretty badly confused. you cannot pull out if you're involved in the middle of the counterinsurgency and start dealing diplomatically with people who know that when you leave, there are born to rule the country iran -- ruled the country.
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iran is funding has a lot -- hamas.ah and al qaeda and mos all these people you're talking about, there will be a bloodbath this letter was in vietnam, in my opinion. -- just like there was in vietnam. that is my opinion. to build a little bit into middle eastern history, iraq is not a longstanding nation state. that came along after the first world war. if you were too light of the middle east by linguistics and trade connections, there but is more similar to other areas --
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arabic is more similar to other areas. the middle east might look a little bit differently if someone had not korbut the middle east. -- had not carved up the middle east. afghanistan is the blessed expand ship -- is the blessed -- blessed exception. afghanistan is a nation. it is a piece of itself. afghanistan is an exception in asia in the 20th-century. i think that afghanistan can still be a nation state. it looks a lot different as a state than the way that we have ranged it. i do not think that it is a
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workable model. i think it is ultimately condemned to more violence and bloodshed going forward. i was on a flight from iraq and i was finishing a book about the tension between tribes states in islam and afghanistan. i am reading the last chapter and it says the fundamental problem with afghanistan is afghanistan itself. the introduction of the nation's they trying to impose a government structure on this region, that is at the heart and root of the stability because it throws off the delicate balance that has kept attention to of the 19th and 20th century.
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i think that afghanistan is a nation and can be a piece of itself. it probably looks a lot different as a state. >> there are a lot of regional powers and pakistan, obviously. -- in pakistan, obviously. i would like to hear your views as to how these countries are influenced by u.s. policy and whether russia and china have an interest in keeping the united states tied down in afghanistan?
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>> i hate you, this is my research plan for the entire year. let's go country by country. first off, i do not think that this administration has figured out what it wants to do with its relations with india. the bush to administration was pretty clear about how we would approach india. we would strike deals with india and not worry about all of these issue by issue problems that we have with india. we are harnessing ourselves to india. we're not at war. i am not sure what the obama
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administration is doing. i think that the best thing that we can do in relation to india is to have a successful outcome in afghanistan. with pakistan, i think that the have a pretty radical strategy and thought process since 2005 and 2006. they say that the united states and its allies will not be in afghanistan for ever. -- forever. does it make sense to plan for the day after the united states and its allies leave afghanistan? i do not think they would we think that fundamental that that they have made.
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et that they have made. but, you have an entire pakistan and officer corps that remembers the former agreement with the united states cut all ties to the pakistanis and refused to sell them the f-16s that we promised them. we are dealing with a poisoned chalice. you cannot fix that type of relationship over night. with respect to iran, so for the iranians have been a malign influence in afghanistan and they have an influence in keeping us tied down of there. they do not have an interest in a radical fundamentalist government coming to power in afghanistan. as long as they are bleeding a
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strike, fantastic. -- bleeding us dry, fantastic. we saw some limited anti- aircraft capabilities in iraq and you start seeing a blatant iranian hand in the weapons that were killing american soldiers in iraq in in 2005, 2006, and 2007. in afghanistan, you don't see any of those weapons systems. if you did, it it would have a devastating effect on the spanish and italians. they would be out the door and all the next flight back to rome and madrid. you have not seen that.
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i do not think the iranians have an interest in us losing, but they have an interest in us using all our resources. i don't know anything about russia. the same thing with china. i forget who said this. we are fighting the wars in iraq in afghanistan. our future for the blow is in eastern asia. the longer the we stayed bog down in central asia means the water that we fail to divert our resources to where the 20-21st century is headed -- 21st
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century is headed. don't anybody else ask is the bequest and as that. >> i told you earlier about ask this question. you told us-what does washington think of him? -- what does washington think of him? >> i would talk about a larger issue which is social services of one of the office has on the stability operations. greg makes a persuasive case that if you were to transfer a society, to teach girls how to read. if you teach girls how to read, entire villages learn how to read and birth rates plummet and prosperity goes up.
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the stuff that greg has done in afghanistan and pakistan is true the lord's work. it is some fantastic stuff. i had an opportunity to sit down with them and have a few cups of tea in kabul. it was a tremendous privilege. let me use this to transition to a bigger question. we have been able to determine pretty clearly that viola non- state actors, whether you are talking about hamas or the taliban, they get the advantage of providing social services to the population. if they are picking up the garbage and providing schools and hospitals, then they get advantage because-they get an
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advantage on the battlefield, too. in any type of conflict or fire fight, you have a fight or flee option. your mother's -- you are much more likely to flee if your mother and father and wife and kids are getting their resources. will the government be able to provide social services to the degree that the group that i am fighting with has been able to? the problem is that we have not been able to determine that the counter insurgent force -- counter-insurgent force gives a similar level of services to the population. for example, in iraq, you're not able to determine that any of that aid and development money that we were spending had an
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effect on lowering that. in afghanistan, all of that foreign aid and development money going into of guinness then, is its -- into afghanistan, is reducing poverty? -- is it reducing poverty? yes. does it do the things that aid and development is supposed to do? does it succeed in addressing conflict and lowering violence? the answer to the first question in afghanistan is yes, and the answer to the the second question is no. it has corrected the environment to the degree that we have all this money that is creating perverse incentives and is
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further destabilizing the conflict in afghanistan. i would point you towards researchers like andrew wilder. >> you mentioned pakistan a little bit. i wanted a little bit more of a question on that. pakistan seems to be dividing the caliban -- taliban. the other groups is putting us. we are pouring a lot of aid into a afghanistan for the foreseeable future. what is your opinion? is it doing us any good? >> that is a great question. i am not a professional on at
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pakistan. that may explain the love/hate relationship i have with the pakistanis. i did give money to flood relief in pakistan and you should all do the same if you have a few blocks -- a few bucks lying around. i do not have regular access to classified reformation, so i cannot -- you and i are working from the same basic knowledge from what we read in the newspapers and from the think tank reports. i think what you describe is correct. helping pakistan defeat at the pakistani taliban, pakistan has
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nuclear weapons. our interests and there are much greater than in afghanistan, but with respect -- it doesn't appear to me that we have been able to crack the code on how to get the pakistanis to change their methods. i am not talking about the pakistani taliban. we are talking about the guys that are trying to do is stabilize -- trying to destabilize the government in kabul. >> my name is jeremy jones, united states air force. when i was in afghanistan, i was on the tactical level and the
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operational level. we all know that obama ordered a strategic and political review of military strategy. did he order the same review of the civilian strategy? >> this is exactly what i called for in an article. we did a good jump looking at our military strategy. let's leave aside all the problems of a development and how it might be destabilizing afghanistan further. politically, i think we have gotten -- i do not know if the president actually did this or if everyone realized there was a problem when we arrived at the proper solution. if you are karzai, i am talking
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publicly, if you look at that dynamics that i described, we have to think about where our interests do not align and we use our leverage over the afghans. there is some give-and-take. would we ask karzai - we are not in a position to do that. you have general petraeus but never met with an iraqi official policy had ambassador ryan crocker right there with him. he is the unsung hero of the surge in 2000 he wrote. he is a constant diplomat and he speaks fluent arabic.
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he is one of the real heroes and there is that close interaction. in 2005, we were complaining about afghanistan. now we are complaining about afghanistan. what we were able to do was to get a partnership in iraq in 2007. afghanistan, not the case. there were leaked memos from the embassy in kabul that our ambassador had his own idea about what would work and would not work in afghanistan and he did not think the counterinsurgency strategy would work.
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they had a problem. for a couple of reasons, they did not see eye to eye with the u.s. commander. the commanders are now the nato commanders and they do not answer to the u.s. ambassador. it is a coalition warfare with all the problems that it entails. there was the u.k. advisor -- ambassador to kabul. but i do not think that we really thought through -- if we think that we could do this politically and operationally,
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how we organize our team to use a little leverage? adding the other team, we need a coordinator to coordinate afghanistan and pakistan policy. if you're one to be an on board, you probably need to be in the region. you cannot just me with one guy. you have to sit down and get to know somebody and have launched multiple times. after you establish a relationship of trust, then you can discreetly moved on to issues where power is used -- where our interests are not aligned. i suggested last may that we
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have campaign design and campaign planning for it campaign designed tells us how to approach the problem. -- and campaign planning. campaign design and tells us how to approach the problem. >> we hear a lot about the opium growing in the opium economy and how it supports the afghan war effort and so forth. what do we do about that? >> wright, a counter-narcotics, go. how long do you want to be in afghanistan? is afghanistan the 51st state or is it some place we are trying to leave. less look at a province wrote quick. there is a reporter that i like named tom coughlin who writes for the "times" of london.
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it is kind of like a three- dimensional chess board, three chessboards stacked on top of one another. on the first chessboard, you have the government of afghanistan against the insurgents. on the second chessboard, you have entered-tribal rivalry. there is no surprise that some of the senior leadership comes from the major tribe. you have those injured-tribal rivalries -- inter tribal rivalries. it afghanistan was born to be
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the 51st state, if we will stay afghanistan forever, it makes all of the sense in the world to tackle corruption. send patrick fitzgerald out there to tackle corruption. who is our drugs czar? let's take on the narcotics trade. let's go after them. trying tot what we're do in afghanistan we are trying to transition to a mission in afghanistan. in that context, they say that the insurgents the a lot of money from the drug trade, but so do some of our allies. so do people in the afghan parliament. it is terribly complicated. having said that, you can see
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where my own biases are. we should be very humble about what we think that we can achieve, which we have not been the best at being. others want to thank you for some fantastic questions. that was great. i think i just embarrassed myself all over c-span. i will probably listen to myself and say that i cannot believe that i said that. it was a pleasure to be with here tonight. thank you so much. [applause]
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>> yes we can, yes we can, yes we can. >> thank-you all for coming to see me. [laughter] >> i am new to politics, but i
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get it. seven days before the iowa caucus. a young senator from illinois in a speech -- made a speech. the moment is now to heal a nation, to repair the world. it resonated with me bar. i remember being on the ground in afghanistan for a short mission. looking out the window of a farmhouse, i thought the we did not have to be there. what the streets and think about healing a nation that that senator talked about, a failed education system for our children where 28% black young
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men graduate. i went to a church mosque, a temple or synagogue every weekend. it is a great job. you can buy yourself anywhere. [laughter] i learned a jewish term, it means to repair that world. but there is another story that i heard in one of those congregations that speaks about the man i am about to introduce. i heard this about a man from the land of israel, several centuries ago that went to a foreign nation. when he was there, he was arrested as a spy, sentenced to hang. he asked the judge if he could go home one last time and hug
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his spells goodbye and he would come back to the hon. he said that if i do not return, my best friend will remain in jail and he will hang instead. the key chuckled and said that he had to see this. the man but his family good-bye and came back, and he would have been there on time, but there was a storm. when he got there they were just about to hang his friend. he said that he was the one to be hung. his friend said know that he was the one to be hung. the king heard this and demanded that they come before him. i listened to them argue and finally said stop.
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the king said he would forgive them both if he would make -- if the two of them would make him their third friend. it is a friendship among shipmates that helps serve this country. what am i proud to introduce this warrior next to me that truly is the leader in that mission? [applause] >> in that mission, he came
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alone. i honestly do believe that that is what this election is about is about the state -- whether you have been a community organizer or the president of the united states, i am about to introduce to you our third friend. i am proud to introduce the president of united states, barack obama. [applause] >> hello, philadelphia! [applause] thank you. thank you. thank you so much. thank you, everybody. it is good to be back in philly. [applause]
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first of all, i noticed everybody is in a better mood after the game yesterday. [laughter] the bears did well, too, i just want to point out -- [laughter] -- 2-0. but congratulations on the eagles. you guys got a win. [laughter] it's also good to be back in philly because i had to stop by the reading terminal market. [laughter and applause] got a couple of cheese steaks -- [laughter] -- that are waiting for me back there, so -- [laughter] -- but i didn't want to keep you all waiting. i also bought some apples so that michelle would feel like i was eating healthy. [laughter] i've got some great friends
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who are here. i know the governor ed rendell had to leave, but give him a big round of applause, because he's doing outstanding work. [applause] in the audience, we've got one of my favorite people. as excellent a person as he is a public servant, senator bob casey is in the house. [applause] your outstanding member of congress, bob brady, is here. [applause] your mayor, michael nutter is here. [applause] and i want to thank pat croce. we were talking a little bit about the bulls and the 76ers, and i like our chances. [laughter] but no, i've been a big admirer of pat.
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he just exudes enthusiasm about everything he does, and that's part of what i'm going to be talking about today: enthusiasm -- having that spirit, even when things are tough, that pushes through to the victory line. now, it is great to be back in pennsylvania because the main reason i'm here is to stand beside your next united states senator joe sestak. [applause] audience: joe! joe! joe! joe! the president: joe! joe! joe! joe! joe! [applause] and joe is right. in me, he's got a friend. and i'm not the only one. look, this is a friendly crowd. [laughter] everybody here loves joe. everybody here is supporting joe.
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but i want to talk a little bit about enthusiasm, energy; why you need to work for joe; why, between now and november, i need everybody here to knock on some doors, and write some more checks, and make some more phone calls, and talk to your neighbors about joe. that's what we need. [applause] and you need to do this because the choice in this election could not be clearer, and the stakes could not be higher. on the one hand, we have a candidate in joe sestak who is not a career politician. everybody has been talking about insiders in washington. well, joe is not one of the insiders who's been part of the problem. instead, he's been solving problems in washington. [applause] he didn't go there with a liberal agenda or a
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conservative agenda. he went to serve the people of pennsylvania, just like he's served his country for the last three decades. [applause] this is somebody who's always working for you; whose door is always open; who's helped pass 10 pieces of legislation in just three years - the first new federal funding for autism treatment in 12 years; student loan assistance for u.s. troops called to active duty; support for troops who come home with ptsd; more help and more contracts for pennsylvania's small businesses. [applause] he has been doing the work. in washington, you know, they make the distinction between show horses and work horses. and joe is a work horse. [applause] he's been working, not talking. [applause] and this is somebody who's been pragmatic.
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he will work with democrats, he'll work with republicans, he'll work with independents. he's willing to work with anybody who's interested in actually getting the job done, and that's the kind of person you want representing you in washington. that's who joe sestak is. [applause] that's why you need to work for him to make him your next senator. [applause] on the other side, we've got a candidate who was in washington for years, ran a special interest group whose main function has been to pull the republican party to the right -- even farther to the right. [laughter] i guess you could say they've done a good job -- [laughter] -- at that. this is somebody who, when he had a chance, voted to cut help for small businesses; who wants to make trade deals that send
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jobs out of pennsylvania; who seems more concerned about the folks he used to trade with on wall street than the pennsylvanians here on main street. it's someone who is telling us he'll do everything he can to return to the exact same policies that led us to this horrible recession that we're in, in the first place. we can't afford to let that happen. we cannot afford more of the same rigid ideology that led us in this place. we can't afford to go backwards. we've got to move forward. we need joe sestak to move forward. that's the choice in this election. [applause] i want to set the context for
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this, because for the last decade, a very specific philosophy reigned in washington. and it does have the advantage that it's simple to describe. you cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires. you cut regulations for special interests. you cut back on investments in education and clean energy and research and technology. the basic idea was that if we put blind faith in the market, and if we let corporations play by their own rules, and we leave everybody else to fend for themselves, that somehow america would grow and prosper. we know how that philosophy worked out. it didn't work for middle-class families who saw their incomes go down and their costs go up. there was a report -- this isn't from me -- this is the wall street journal, not known for -- [laughter] -- you know, pushing the obama agenda. [laughter] the wall street journal said that from 2001 to 2009, when the other side was in power,
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the average wage for middle- class families went down 5 percent. that's before the crisis hit. so your wages and incomes flat- lined. your costs of everything from health care to college tuition, sky-rocket. their philosophy didn't work for an economy that experienced the slowest job growth of any decade since world war ii. they took record surpluses, turned them into record deficits. and then finally recklessness on the part of some on wall street led to the worst economic crisis since the great depression. that's their track record. now, i ran for president because i had a different idea about how this country was built. [applause]
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and it was an idea rooted in my own family's story. my parents, grandparents, they never had much. i was raised by single mom who worked tirelessly so that i might have a better life. her and my grandparents, they believed in the american values of self-reliance and individual responsibility, and they instilled those values in their children. but they also believed in a country that rewards hard work and rewards responsibility, and a country where we look after one another, where we say i am my brother's keeper, i am my sister's keeper. they believed in that america. [applause] they believed in an america that gave my grandfather the chance to go to college because of the gi bill. an america that gave my grandparents the chance to buy a home because of the federal
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housing authority. an america where a rising tide really does lift all boats, from the ceo to the newest guy on the assembly line. that's the america i believe in. and that's the america joe sestak believes in. [applause] i had a town hall on the economy today on cnbc. and i explained to people we don't believe government has all the answers to our problems. we don't think government's main role is to create jobs or prosperity. joe, i know, believes this, that government should be lean. it should be efficient. but in the words of the first republican president, abraham lincoln, we also believe that government should do for the people what they can't do better for themselves. [applause]
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and that means a future where we encourage american innovation and american ingenuity. that's why we want to end tax breaks going to companies that are shipping jobs overseas and start giving those tax breaks to companies that are investing in jobs and research and plants and equipment right here in the united states of america. [applause] that's why we're investing in research and technology and a homegrown, clean energy industry, because i don't want solar panels and electric cars and advanced batteries manufactured in europe or in asia. i want them made right here in the united states of america, in the usa by american workers. [applause] we see an america where every citizen has the skills and training to compete with any worker in the world.
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that's why we've set a goal to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. we used to be number one; we're now number 12. we are going to get back to number one because that is our future. [applause] that's why we're revitalizing our community colleges, and reforming our education system based on what works best for our children, not what works to perpetuate the status quo. that's why we're fighting to make our new college tax credit permanent - a tax credit that will mean $10,000 in tuition relief for each child going to four years of college. [applause] most of all, we see an america where a growing middle-class is the beating heart of a growing economy. that's why i kept my campaign promise and gave a middle-class tax cut to 95 percent of working americans. [applause] that's why we passed health insurance reform that stops
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insurance companies from jacking up your premiums at will or denying you coverage because you get sick. [applause] while i was over at reading terminal, a woman came up to me. she says, thank you so much for health care reform. i've got two young people graduating from college. my children right now, they don't have health insurance, but because of your bill, they're going to be able to stay on my health insurance until they're 26 years old. and i told them, it was the right thing to do then. it's the right thing to do now. and we've got to keep it in place for the future. [applause] that's why we passed financial reform -- to end taxpayer bailouts, but also to stop credit card companies and mortgage lenders from taking advantage of the american people by jacking up rates without any notice. that's why we're trying to make it easier for workers to save
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for retirement, fighting the efforts of some in the other party to privatize social security, because as long as i'm president, nobody is going to take the retirement savings of a generation of americans and hand it over to wall street. we're not going to do that. [applause] this is the america we see. this is the america we believe in. that's the choice in this election. now, we've been through an incredibly difficult time as a nation. when i walked into the white house, preventing a second depression was not what i expected to be at the top of my "to do" list. [laughter] and even though we've done that, even though the economy is now growing again, and we're adding private sector jobs again, the hole was so deep that
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progress has been painfully slow. you still have millions of americans who are unemployed. millions more who can barely pay the bills. hundreds of thousands of families who have lost their homes. these aren't just statistics. behind each of those numbers, there's a face, there's a story. there's heartache. there's struggle. i see it in the letters i receive each night. i see it when i have town hall meetings or i travel around the country. so i know people are frustrated and they're angry. and they're anxious about the future. and i also know that in a political campaign, the easiest thing for the other side to do is not to put forward any specifics, not to put forward any plans, but just try to ride that anger and fear all the way to election day. and that's what's happening right now. i mean, look, it'd be one thing if joe's opponent, the other republican candidates had looked back on the last decade and said to themselves, "you know what? our policies didn't work.
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we ended up in a terrible recession. we need to try something new." but that's not what they're doing. they are not offering any new ideas. they're not offering any new policies. we're not engaged in some honest debate where they say, oh, we're going to get control of government spending and we're going to create jobs, and here's how we'll do it, we're going to do it one, two, three, four, five -- that's not what they're doing. the chair of one of their campaign committees said that if they take over congress, they will pursue -- i'm quoting now -- "the exact same agenda" as they did before i took office. the exact same agenda. i think you guys will understand it. they drove the economy into a ditch. and so me and joe and others, we went down into the ditch and
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we put on our boots. and it's muddy down there and slippery, and it's hot and there are bugs. and we're pushing and we're shoving to get the car out of the ditch. and the whole time, the republicans are standing up there comfortable, sipping on a slurpee, watching us. [laughter] they're saying, you got to push harder. [laughter] you're not pushing the right way. but we keep on at it. every once in a while we ask them to come down and help, and they say, no, no, we're not going to help. finally, we get this car back on level ground. it's a little dented. you know, it's got -- it's got a few holes in the fender. but we're finally moving in the right direction. and suddenly, we get a tap on the shoulder. and they say, excuse me, we want the keys back. [laughter]
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you can't have the keys back [applause] -- because you don't know how to drive! they don't know how to drive the car. they can't have the keys back. [applause] you can't have it. [applause] and i just want to point out, when you want to drive and you want to go forward, what do you do? you put the car in what? in d. if you're going backwards, what do you do? you put it in r. [laughter] that's not a coincidence. [laughter and applause] they have told us exactly what they would do if we give them the keys back. credit card companies -- they'll be able to jack up the rates without reason. insurance companies can deny you coverage because you're sick.
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they want to stand by and do nothing when states are forced to lay off teachers or firefighters or cops. according to the republican leader of the house, those are just "government jobs" that presumably aren't worth saving. they want to give more tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas. and they want to borrow $700 billion -- $700 billion that we don't have -- to give a tax break that is worth, on average, $100,000 to every millionaire and billionaire in america. now, these are the folks who are lecturing us on fiscal responsibility. the same folks who refused t o wars, two tax cuts for the wealthy, left me a $1.3 trillion deficit all wrapped up in a bow when i walked into the oval office. now they want to spend another $700 billion that 98 percent of americans will never see. i believe we need a serious
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plan to reduce our deficit - that's why i've already proposed a three- year freeze on all discretionary spending outside national security it's why we've already identified $300 billion worth of tax loopholes that aren't serving our economy well, that could be closed, and a couple hundred billion dollars worth of cuts that we could make in programs that aren't working anymore. that's why we launched a bipartisan fiscal commission to come up with real solutions to reduce our long-term deficit. but these folks aren't serious about the deficit - not if they want to spend another $100 billion [sic] without paying for it, to give tax breaks to folks who don't need it and weren't even asking for it. that's their agenda. that's what they're offering the american people - a future that looks like a recent past that did not work for you. one more special interest got reign to play by their own rules and where middle-class families were left to fend for
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themselves. philadelphia, that is not a future i accept for the united states of america. that is not a future joe sestak accepts for the united states of america, and if you do not accept that future, if you do not think the stakes are large, i want you to consider this -- this is worth thinking about. right now all across this country, special interests, running millions of dollars of attack ads against democratic candidates. last year's supreme court decision in citizens united which basically says the special interests can gather up millions of dollars, they are allowed to spend as much as they want without limit, and they do
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not ever have to reveal who is paying for these ads. and that is what they're doing all across the country. they are doing it right here in pennsylvania, millions of dollars being spent. and the names always sound very benign -- it's americans for prosperity, committee for truth and politicians, americans for apple pie. [laughter] i made that last one up. none of them will disclose who is paying for these ads. you do not know whether it is some big financial interest, you do not know if it is a big oil company or an insurance company. you do not even know if it is foreign controlled. we tried to fix this. the leaders of the other party would not even allow it to come up for a vote. they want the public to be in the dark. we cannot allow a special interest takeover of our democracy. we cannot go back to the days where just because you had a lobbyist, you could write the tax code the way you wanted it,
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taking advantage of main street families, middle-class families. we're not going to go back to the days when insurance companies wrote rules that said if your child had a preexisting condition, you might never be able to get him health insurance. we're not going back to the exact same agenda because we know what happened. a lot has changed since this last election, but what has not changed is the choice that we face in this country. it is still fear versus hope. it is still past versus future. it is still the choice between sliding backwards or moving full word. that is what this election as of what -- is about. that is the choice you will face in november. [applause] let me close by saying this. this is not going to be easy. electing joe is not going to be easy. he is going to be outspent not
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just by the other candidate but by these special interests, but also, because it is never easy. the challenges we are facing are not easy. but you did not elect me to do what is easy. you did not let me just to read the polls and figure out how to keep myself in office. you elected me to do what is right. that is why i ran. [applause] that is why joe sestak is running. that is why you've got to work hard in these next few weeks, and knocking on doors for joe, and talking to your friends and neighbors about joe, and making phone calls for joe, and writing some checks for joe. we need you to do this here in pennsylvania and all across the country because we can defeat those millions of dollars if we got people power on our side, millions of americans making their voices heard. and if we do that, then hope
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will beat fear every time. in the future will beat the past. that is what this election is about. we need to come together around the great project of american renewal. we will restore our economy and rebuild our middle class and reclaim the american dream for the next generation. thank you very much, everybody. god bless you. god bless the united states of america. [applause] ["stars and stripes forever" playing] th [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national
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cable satellite corp. 2010] ♪
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>> in a sense, you represent the vows and issues of all black people in front of president bush preer preer-how do you represent the issues to president obama?
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>> the short of it. i always start with this, everything is a part of the black agenda. when someone comes to me and says what is the black agenda? they already told me. everything is. at the end of the day, it will disproportion natalie help our community.
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it doesn't talk about bringing down crack versus powder cocaine bringing down 101 to 1. we are always going to the president saying how do we fix it for everyone, not just black folk. >> it doesn't matter how good
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your education is if you don't have a place to live. you seen what has happened in our xhounity. tomb times kids are only getting potato chips. >> that might be the only meet that kid gets that day. >> running black caucus gives you a slight amount of pressure.
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>> they were coming to us saying, i don't have access to capital. the media may not talk about it. when we talk about race to the top. when we talk about turn around schools to college, that will help our communities. when you talk about hud, shawn donaldson is foo nominal. walk away knowing the whole auto againeda is the black agenda.
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>> due to the fact that our banking system is arranges of derif tiffs. i really think if our economy, we establish the glass that will separate no two, one that is legitimate, banking system has to be completely reorganized. anybody on the pan al, what do you think about passing this law within this month?
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>> was one of those where once the question started, i knew it would end up over here. one of those things. the bigger issue is how you had a financial industry wall street reform that happened, that passed. this is going to help our folks. practically. who lives in a community where you had check cashing.
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whose seen what a pay day lender. who has seen the experience. they don't understand what they are signing on to. >> the broader piece is you have something that has been passed and signed that will help our communities and respect to peace. for those walking away in terms of this political 101. it's an act. how do you address deflags. >> and i think this is a great opportunity for a teaching moment for those of you. someone asked about legislation. i represent the contact, wal-mart, i will not represent a pay day lender, i will not
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represent someone on every corner that takes our money. if you oppose pay day lending, you need to become involved and listen to the process and become a part of the process so you can then let your voice be heard. >> thank you. i will yield the floor quickly to a guest that has come into the room. >> acknowledging the only african-american womb from the new york congressional delegation. congresswoman yvette clark.
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>> i would appreciate if you would chime in as well. you talk about becoming better leaders, could you talk about it in context of becoming a global market. you have one of the largest exporteri exportering. >> i think having a network will help our stage. for example, the city i lead has the busiest passenger airport on
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the planet. we handle 11% of all domestic air traffic in the united states. wherever delta lands in the world, we open up more opportunities. the city of atlanta has the pleasure of spending a large percentage going to woman or minority business. it's a legacy of jackson that we expand and up hold. we do not create new opportunities without partnering i think that expands the playing field.
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maynarnd jackson used to say, the only think i have to do is pick up trash. when i'm done, at lapta will be a city this is attractive because you can reach 98% of the cities of the united states within two hours. we'll be a global city. all of these opportunities driven will have partnerships. the same way that the leader from the personnel office at the white house was identifying talent and merit. we have a database constantly
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being built. when we have a new opportunity, we have a bench of partners if you will. that's one of the reasons why atlanta has more successful and thriving african-american businesses. in terms of how you really do that, you need to have a direct relationship with my administration. you do it through meetings today a mayor sees deals all the time they are brought and presented or come by necessity. $1.6 million bond for the city of atlanta airport. every single firm that bid got
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work. it is being lead by an african-american investment banker. 40% is going to the african-american community. if i didn't know her, you got to make these people know so there's no excuse. you can't use the old excuse i couldn't find a qualified minority. we say if you can't find one, you better get to know one. >> when i was first in the government, i worked for the u.s. trade office at the white house. back flen, the guy named ron brown, the thing that was
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important to secretary brown. one of the things we did was set up these one-stop shops. in most communities there is a one-stop shop where they will go in and look through opportunities and help mrug in >> i will tell you my time in beijang, we are far, far behind
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it is a fast running train. there are buildings nothing like you have seen in new york. we owe them a lot of money. one thing you can do, i am a communications specialist. i specialize in urban
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discussions. watch bbc news, learn a foreign language. i am studying french. pay attention to foreign policy. read as many books as you can about cultural wars and human trafficking and issues that have affected the world around us. those international issues impact our daily lives, our domestic policy, how we are viewed and will help you be more marketable long term. it's important to find a niche
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area. my area is kra sis there are not enough people of color at the state department. there are not enough people of color working at the cia, let's say. making yourself marketable in that way is really important. >> short answer, there are an
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enormous amount of opportunities that we are not tapping into right now. there's almost nothing you can do that's impacted by the policy. from the food you eat, to the clothes you ware, there's someone that needs for us to get more engaged. whur crow ating and doing your jobs, too often we seem to only think about our block and community. there is someone in the caribbean or asia or africa that could utilize the skill you have. the president has said we need an increase of exporters. also recognize this.
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educate people. you are a good brother or sister who has a good product. recognize, there's an enormous opportunity that we can tap into internationally. >> thank you you will for being here. morgan, this is to you, can you
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talk more about that and why those relationships in mentoring is important. >> thank you, michael, my chief of staff for allowing me to pub size the book. >> i appreciate that question. i have the honor of being on the panel yesterday with cock res woman clark talking about relationships particularly intergeneration relationships among women. when i was in high school and growing up in the naacp, many of my mentors were women. when i got elected, my mentors
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become more men. when i first got elected, the women where not there for me. i expected that would be like sister, i'm so glad you are here, let me show you the ropes. that didn't happen. rather than being frustrated and angry about that, i did go through that process, i realized i didn't ask forea mentorship. i wasn't looking for an mama, i was looking for a mentor. it's krit kl to seek out relationships with people. the people i work with, no apologizes.
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powerful lessons in life, love and politics. regardless of people's age and leshing from that experience and wisdom. if you don't have time for a structured mentorship, make sure you are developing those relationships, talking and emailing and staying connected. second, make sure you are mentoring others. even if you are 20 or 19, there are people in high school that you can be saying, let me show you how to better dress or present yourself and we node to be doing that too. thank you for that, michael. >> andrew from atlanta. the question to jam al, what do
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you think about the tea party movement and what is going on on the right and what we can do to fight back. people get frustrated when i say this. i'm not mad at the tea party movement. they are doing what is constitutionally their right. i completely disagree with what they want to do. the problem i have is with the people who are their opponents. the question is are our communities advocating the things that are important. you remember last year during the healthcare debate, you would see these forums that would take place. you would have people standing up saying horrible things.
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where were our allies holdup your a sign saying i like what you are doing? on october 2. 10-2-10, a plug. we are getting together to express the views of a lot of people who have a different perspective of what should happen in the united states. >> my name is kevin. i have two quick questions. most people speak about how there are different ways to get involved and get into politics. it seems a lot of us now have an
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advanced degree. is that an essentially to get into public office that betters our xhounity? secondly, how can we encourage youth to become more saficly engaged when proif at sector jobs are better paying? >> i had this conference before the program started with a young lady who is helping with the program. i got my masters degree from american university. i'm president secretary, i do publications like jam al on behalf of the press secretary. at the time i went back to school, i was working for
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congressman jefferson. a form cbc member from new orleans. he was convicted last year. i was his communications director at the time when the investigation started. hurricane katrinaa hit on the day that i started graduate school. i went back to school because i saw that everybody else was getting a master's degree and i thought it would make it more marketable. i found that it was my two and a half years of study, it was my experience that was making me more marketable. your experience will propel your career.
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graduate degrees won't hurt. i don't know for me that it has added much. i have been blessed to kwal into opportunities where my experience has grown and developed in such a way of working on situations where a member in crisis can do one of two things to make or break you. my next job was as communications director. i knew all of the justice department reporters. those people recording william jefferson's case were the same to at covering the judiciary. my next job was communications director for john conyers. you cannot match the experience
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of working for a member of congress that's been around as long as john. it's not essential to go to graduate school. it cannot hurt, often times it helps. if you are going to an ivey league school, you can't beat the connections. civic engagement. everybody is not cut out for public office or working in the public sector. you see that often time when's people are out to get money. bringing people up. talking to high school students, meant yring students in your
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community where you attend college. i have only worked in public service. the obama campaign. my sense of purpose is in working on issues that really connect with people. there is nothing more important for an individual than their shelter. that is the sense of purpose i find in my current role. that's all i have. >> i took a different route. i did graduate school first and then i started working on the hill. there is one piece whether you want to be a public servant or elected official. there's a sacrifice there. the money will come. i'm a witness, it will come. but you have to do your dog hours and time. if you do one thing, you go make
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that money afterwards, never let that public servant go. your community will always need you. >> as one of the two senior people here, the mayor and i are probably the older people on the panel. >> you won't always be doing the things you are doing today. sometimes when you go into a job interview or situation, you want to be able when answering a question. i'll disagree a little bit that you should get as prepared as possible in whatever way is appropriate. to make sure that is not a
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reason you get knocked out of the game. if you are good, people pick you up. i been people with grows people opportunity want anywhere around me. to the second piece, and i think about this all the time as it relates to all of us in government. you are gooding to work a long time and have eye lot of hours. the question is why do you do this? >> my people are still hurting and still need me. you can say my people, define
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that however you chooz. black people, people on your block, people that went to school with you. as others will show you, using jam al is a great example. being in government with jamal and donna, you have folks on tv and engaged all the time. you'll get that opportunity down the loin. speaking of resources. there were a number of resources who raised their hand still in college in the room. i want to recognize two people, one stephanie brown that deals with the college in college commission. for you young people who are looking for a way to enhance your training and leadership skills.
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naacp have provided that opportunity for sometime of us in the room. we want to thafrpg them for that. secondly, a program i helped to lead and correct at people for the american way foundation. called young people for, they enter them into a one-year developme development. the director of that program is in this room. rebecca thompson. if you would stand and let people see you. >> i want to toss it to the panel because we have 6:00.
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>> i want you to give it your full effort. you can't forget that this time you have, the physical capacity you have right now, lue not have again. make sure you exploit this band width. work harder than everybody else. that's what i want you to remember. thank you. flu >> one of the first questions we have talked about passing the torch. sometimes you have to take that torch. be unapologetic about it if you do it the right way. people will notice you are a leader, you have to sacrifice.
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you know when it is your time. i think melanie was probably one of the youngest communication directors for the committee. she knew it was her time believe in yourself at all costs. if you don't, no one else will. this is only the beginning. >> honesty is still the best policy. be honest with yourself about what it is you love and you are passion gnat about. follow that passion. if you don't have kids or a mortgage, you don't have a reason to do anything with
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within. find love and passion. and later you will make money off of love and masion. be honest about your weaknesses and strengths. do something about compensating for your weaknesses whether that's adding to your team or learning new things. >> i will say, i would pressure support. it came out this week there are a lot of topics. in the book, my goal is to spur conversation and action. i want to leave with you one of my favorite quotes, every person is born tho this world to do something distinctive and u
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leak. if you don't do what you were created to, it won't be done. this is a time for leadership and service. our people need us. i am reminding you you were born to do that thing that gets you up in the morning. if you don't do it it will never be done. [applause] >> take risks early. if the torch is not passed to you, take it. the question i get most
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frequently is why did you ever work for a member of congress eventually convicted of bribery and why did you stay? loyalty is important. i wasn't just loyal to the man but the congressional district of the area. leading to been dpajed and in the immediate grounds we have. i started as an intern. i was a staff assistant and press assistant. then i was a communications director. loyalty to start my career. loyalty to my home town and to the nodes of my community.
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having a sense of purpose as you do. i have always loved my job it's because i have been blessed and fortunate to find opportunities to help me engage. finally, speak up and speak out. if someone asks your opinion, give it. be honest. if they don't ask your opinion and you have one, give it. be honest. it will payoff tremendously. anyone who knows me knows i will be honest like it or not. that has paid off in my career and helping to develop other
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people's careers. mentorship is important. there is nothing i love to see more someone i helped prepare for a job succeed for that job. i too found it hard to find female mentors who were open. jennifer was one of those people. it is people like jennifer that i am now giving vice to others. take risks, be loyal, have a sense of purpose and help other people. thank you. flu >> if you want to reach me afterwards, my email is mblake at whp.eop.gov.
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if you need anything else from us, go to wrous.gov. the young people go to healthcare.gov. you can stay on your parent's health plan until age 26. that is critical in communities right now. a few things, one, go visit the white house booth upstairs. it's just a train. it's not the coming of jesus right now. folks out here looking around right now. booth 309 is the booth. we ask them to be ambassadors of
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change. i think we've heard a lot. i want to put it in this context how we have started. these are the things we have been waiting for. thises beautiful from our end. a packed room. people who have been here since 9:00. realize the name of the group that has us here, impact. it's not just showing up. what are you going to leave and do? i want you to realize a consequence in action. in a few weeks, they're will be a real choice as african-americans sit home. many times people will say, the
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president is not on the ballot. if we don't show up and show out in a profound way, we won't be able to do that. when i took this job, one of the first meetings i had was with a fantastic sister. she said to me, of all the african-americans who have lived on this earth, for some reason god chose to you run blackout reach for the first black president. i do not take for granted everything we are trying to do. that is not only helping our communities now but for the long term. he said, if and when i win, america will look at itself differently. america will look at itself differently. when i win, kids around the
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country are going to believe they can be anything they want to be. we will not only be anything they want to be, our kid also be anything they want to be. [applause] >> help me give it up for this amazing panel we have here today. [applause] >> c-span's local content vehicles are racing across the country as we look at some of the closest contested races in the elections. flu ♪ ♪
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[applause] >> one thing i want to observe. . .
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>> his most serious challenge came in 1994 where he won but four points.
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-- he won by four points. spratt had a serious challenge in 2006 from a state rep. he won with 57% of the boat and has not had a series cellists cents. >> it was a republican club lunch. i spoke. i spoke to 65 people at a republican club. i did not think there were 65 republicans in lee county. someone still up and said there aren't. [laughter] >> they talked about health care
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reform and decided he to run for congress and challenged congressman spratt. senator moldavia's 42 years old. he lives in indian land in the northern section of the district. it is a suburb of charlotte. he has an interesting background. he attended georgetown university and has a law degree from the university of north carolina at chapel hill and practiced law for 13 years and decided to go into business. he ran for the state house in 2006, served there for two years, moved to the state senate where he is serving out, and he is now involved in running for congress. when senator mulvaney got into the race he was focused on health care reform, cap and trade, and the stimulus package. he wanted to run a simple campaign based on his opposition to those three initiatives and health care has emerged as the
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most high-profile issue. senator mulvaney contends that this district did not want the health care reform. congressman spratt voted in favor of health-care reform. he helped pass it through the budget committee. the fifth district stretches across 14 counties in the upper portion of south carolina. it has divided into three regions. you have the charlotte suburbs in the northern half of the district which includes york and lancaster county sprayed you have the middle region which is closer to columbia in the center of the state and you have the pd river area which is more rural and agricultural. congressman sprat like to call a three ring circus because you have to keep projects and initiatives going in each of the three parts of the district in order to satisfy the constituents. the fifth district has been hard hit by the economic downturn.
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this region once relied on the textile industry. that is in every part of the district and textiles faded away in the 1980's and 1990's and are now almost completely gone. many parts of the district are trying to still make the transition away from the textile-based economy and economic downturn did not make that easier. south carolina is one of the most conservative states of the country, the fifth district is considered more moderate than the rest of south carolina. this district still lean conservative. john spratt has been an anomaly for south carolina. he is a democrat in a conservative state and has been able to maintain a brand as being independent-minded and conscious of budget and conscious of spending discipline that is going to be tested in this race. many people in the district are upset about health care reform, the bank bailouts, they are
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upset about the stimulus package and what they say as a reckless government spending. we have covered several tea party rallies outside his district office. we have not seen this level of emotion and engagement in the fifth district in quite a while, possibly ever. that is what congressman spratt is having to deal with. >> cspan's local content of vehicles are traveling the country as we look at some of the most closely contested house races leading up to the november midterm elections. for more information on what local content of vehicles are up to, visit our website c- span.org/lcv. >> in a few moments, south carolina senator lindsey -- lindsey graham once said counterterrorism strategy and "washington journal" is live
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with segments on public transportation. the unemployment bill passed by the senate. the senate impeachment trial of louisiana district court judge thomas porteus continues on c- span 3. the transportation department conference on distracted driving on c-span. our coverage begins at 10:00 eastern after "washington journal." >> every weekend on c-span 3, and experience american history tv starting saturday at 8:00 a.m. eastern, 48 hours of people and events telling the stories. hear speeches by national leaders and i would accounts of events that shaped our nation. pop history professors and leading historians delve into the american past. that is all weekend, every
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weekend on cspan 3. >> republican senator lindsey graham of south carolina on the afghanistan war and counter- terrorism strategies. it is a colonel in the air force reserves and just returned from afghanistan where he served as a legal adviser. from the american enterprise institute, this is a little over one hour. institute. >> ladies and gentlemen -- ladies and gentlemen, if i can ask you all to be seated and and your conversations, please. we would like to get started on time. it is not that i am not grateful that you are having a very nice time. good afternoon, everybody. welcome to the american enterprise institute. i am the vice-president for foreign and defense policy studies.
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thanks a for joining us today. are very proud to have senator lindsey graham here today. he will give a short talk this morning or this afternoon which will be followed by a session of "q&a" with the audience. after that, we will do a short and sweet roundtable, something we have not done in the past. no set piece presentations. i am pleased that we are able to have senator graham ought back here. he has really given it back one of the most interesting and well received talks here in many years last time he spoke. he has a very illustrious resume which is online at for you to read and its full form. he served for 6.5 years as an active duty air force lawyer. after leaving the air for in 1989, he joined the south carolina air national guard where he served until his
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election to theouse of representatives in 1994. he serves as the south carolina state in the house of representatives since 2003. he was called to active duty in the first gulf war. he continues to serve in the reserves. he recently returned from reserve duty in afghanistan. hope he will talk about that as well. he is one of the most articulate national-security experts in the senat and has been outspoken in support of their troops, their mission, and the importance of understanding what is at stake inhe warn terror. he condemned the w found process of setting arbitrary deadlines for troop drawdowns and said it would be a mistake to leave iraq with about maintaining a military presence. earlier this year, if he passed e terrorist retention review act which seeks to resolve some of the habeas issues. to talk about that bill,
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afghanistan, and anything else he would like to talk about, let me welcome senator lindsey graham. [applause] >> without food, i woul have been worried. if you came here to figure out how al green paid his filing fee in south carolina or whether or not it is a good idea to dabble in witchcraft, whether obama was born in america, or whether the dream act will help senator harry reid in the upcoming election, you have come to the wrong place. we will talk for about 35 minutes.
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at that point in time, pled the of this place. i believe in the geneva convention. one of the rolls is for politicians to talk over 35 that it violates the rules. i will talk about afghanistan. the fact that you came here says a lot about you. i think it is good. it is 12:30, and a beautiful day or making money. but you decided to come here and have a discussion with me and others about ourational security. and we are what? how many days before the election? i am not good at math. that is why i am in the senate. some days left. in the finish line, in the last lap. would you know that we are at war listening to the political discourse? has there been a serious exchange between any candidate, tea party, democrat, republican, libertarian,
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vegetarian on what we should do with iran? have you seen one commercial about whether or not our afghan strategy is good or bad? we are within days, literally, of a major shift in power in washington and you would never know that this nation is involved in two wars and a looming threats facing us all that could change the course of humanity and mankind. and i say that knowing that everybody in america cares about our troops and every candidate for office is patriotic. what i do not understand is how in the world did this happen? how did america of get herself into two warsr? ? where are we going in the war on terror nine years after 9/11 and no one seems to want to talk much about it? i would argue tt it would take a dramatic event for that to change, unfortunaly. and i hope and pray that it will
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not require an attack on the country before we talk about the things that we should have been talking about when it comes to our national security. from the republican point of view, and that is an unusual term now, there are about five camps in the republican party, is the july withdrawal date by president obama of fatal flaw in the afghan strategy? from my point of view, additional troops were needed in afghanistan and without them it would have been impossible to change the momentum that had been lost to the taliban, so i applaud president obama for doing something that was exceedingly on popular with his base, and that is to plus up trooops. i am here to knowledge that our efforts in iraq did hurt our effos in afghanistan. that we